Madeleine Reeves. Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014

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Boris Pétric


The British social anthropologist Madeleine Reeves offers a fascinating book, both in terms of the data it contains and the issues it raises. Engaging a qualitative approach to studying the border in post-Soviet Central Asia, she examines more broadly the metamorphosis of the contemporary state. She first reminds us that administrative boundaries between Soviet republics are part of a political context developed during a period where the “scientific state” distinguished spaces and groups and transformed identities by using social sciences and statistics. This complex inheritance is now managed in a new context, where the nation-state appears as the global political norm and tries to match ethnic/national boundaries with political boundaries.


Border Areas, Central Asia, Anthropology of State, Bureaucracy, Militarization, Marketplace, Mobility

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